Nexus between Corporate Digital Transformation and Green Technological Innovation Performance: The Mediating Role of Optimizing Resource Allocation
Building upon the insights provided above, it becomes evident that the digital transformation of corporations holds the potential to significantly contribute to the promotion of green technological innovation. Investigating this cause-and-effect relationship is of paramount importance in driving the broader transformation toward a greener economy. Consequently, the primary aim of this paper is to thoroughly examine the impact of corporate digital transformation on the progression of green technological innovation.
Therefore, this paper empirically studies the impact mechanism of corporate digital transformation on green technological innovation from the micro level and pays attention to the quantity and quality of green technological innovation at the same time. This study utilizes information from A-share corporations listed in China between 2009 and 2020 to assess their digital transformation using textual analysis methodology. This study investigates how this transformation influences both the amount and the quality of green technological innovation, considering two distinct aspects. To prevent the unreliability of the conclusions, comprehensive robustness and endogeneity examinations are incorporated to validate the findings. Additionally, this study probes into the optimization effect of digital transformation on various resource allocations, such as human, information, and fund resource allocations, to understand how it informs green technological innovation. The final segment of this study involves a heterogeneous analysis, taking into account various factors such as the nature of ownership, sectoral differences, geographical variations, and the stages in the lifecycle of the corporations.
This study makes several distinct contributions. Firstly, while previous studies have primarily focused on quantifying green technological innovation by counting green patent filings, only a few have delved into assessing the quality of such innovation. This paper not only addresses the volume of green technological innovation but also explores its quality by analyzing the frequency of citations received by green patents. This approach is valuable for expanding the research landscape in the field of green innovation. Secondly, this paper underscores the advantages of digital technology in optimizing resource allocation. It specifically highlights how optimizing resource allocation plays an intermediary role in the mechanisms of corporate digital transformation on green technological innovation. This exploration contributes to a better understanding of how corporate digital transformation influences green technological innovation, providing empirical evidence for future studies aiming to facilitate corporate green technological innovation. Thirdly, at the level of heterogeneity analysis, this paper draws upon the enterprise lifecycle theory to observe variations in the performance of enterprises across different lifecycle phases. This observation holds significant practical implications and provides a theoretical foundation for encouraging enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Overall, this study offers significant insights into the evaluation of green technological innovation, the intermediary role of optimizing resource allocation, and the impact of corporate digital transformation on green technological innovation. These contributions provide a solid basis for future research in the field of corporate sustainability and innovation.
5. Mechanism Exploration
In this model, Mit symbolizes the mediator variables pertinent to the three identified mechanisms, including human capital composition (HRS), information asymmetry (INS), and R&D investment (REI). Other variables remain aligned with those in Equation (1).
7. Conclusions and Recommendations
In the context of the rapid development of digitalization and the urgent need for green technological innovation, this study delves into the influence of digital transformation within corporations on the advancement of green technological innovation, with a specific focus on companies listed on A-share markets in China during the period from 2009 to 2020. Utilizing textual analytics, this research assesses the extent of digital transformation and provides a comprehensive evaluation of corporations’ capabilities in green technological innovation, taking into account both the quantity and quality of such innovations. The empirical outcomes reveal: (1) There is a significant increase in both the volume and quality of green technological innovations attributed to corporate digital transformation, with a more pronounced improvement in quality; (2) with the mediating role of optimizing resource allocation, digital transformation within corporations bolsters green technological innovation by refining composition of human capital, diminishing information asymmetry, and augmenting research and development (R&D) investment; (3) heterogeneity analysis demonstrates that digitalization has a more substantial impact on promoting green technological innovation within state-owned corporations, those with lower environmental footprints, and businesses located in low-carbon pilot cities; (4) further research illustrates that the positive influence of corporate digitalization on green technological innovation diminishes as companies progress through their lifecycle, with the most pronounced effects observed during the growth phase.
Based on the conclusions mentioned above, this paper further presents recommendations for advancing corporate digital transformation and green technological innovation. (1) Accelerate digital transformation and deep integration of digital and green initiatives: given the effective role of corporate digital transformation in driving green technological innovation, advancing the digitalization process across all sectors of the national economy is of paramount importance. Governments and businesses should establish common goals and jointly create an institutional and technological environment conducive to the rapid advancement of digital transformation. Simultaneously, the government should encourage companies to integrate digital transformation with green product manufacturing, technology, and efficient management practices. This integration will facilitate a smooth transition of businesses toward digitalization and sustainability, ultimately promoting high-quality corporate development. (2) Tailor policies for different enterprises: recognizing the diversity of enterprises and variations in their performance regarding digital transformation and green technological innovation, it is essential to formulate corresponding policy measures tailored to their unique needs. Implement specific incentives for companies with distinct characteristics, including targeted financial incentives, tax benefits, and subsidies, to motivate their investments in digital transformation and green innovation. (3) Augment investment in R&D and talent: as research and development (R&D) investment and human capital play a pivotal role in facilitating green innovation through digital transformation, it is imperative to employ various means to encourage businesses to increase their R&D investments in digital technologies and green innovation. These measures can include the establishment of R&D funds and tax incentives for research investments. Augmenting R&D spending can accelerate the renewal and enhancement of digital technologies while enhancing the quality of green technological innovations. Furthermore, prioritize the recruitment and training of digital and innovative talents within organizations. Collaborating with universities, academic institutions, and research organizations can help augment the pool of talent resources and drive innovation in the realms of digital and green technologies. (4) Enhance information disclosure: eliminating information asymmetry is a crucial channel through which digital transformation influences green innovation. Therefore, leveraging the technological advantages of digital transformation to improve information disclosure within the capital market is imperative. Heightened transparency can enhance market awareness, bolster investor confidence in businesses, and facilitate the allocation of more resources toward digital transformation and green technological innovation. (5) Early adoption of digital transformation: embarking on digital transformation during the early stages of a company’s lifecycle can yield substantial benefits. We encourage businesses to commence digital transformation planning and implementation as early as possible. This approach not only reduces transformation costs but also maximizes the advantages conferred by digitalization, enabling more effective adaptation to the ever-evolving dynamics of the market.
This study still possesses some limitations, necessitating further exploration in future research: Firstly, the study’s focus was primarily on Chinese corporations, without the inclusion of corporations from other countries for comparative analysis. Given the global trends of the digital revolution and the ascent of the digital economy, it is imperative to investigate whether the influence of digital transformation on green technological innovation is universally applicable. Additionally, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the similarities and distinctions between Chinese corporations and their counterparts in other countries in this context warrants more extensive deliberation. Secondly, due to data availability constraints, this study predominantly relied on publicly listed companies as its sample, thereby excluding non-publicly listed enterprises. It remains to be investigated whether the findings derived from this study can be extrapolated to non-publicly listed companies. Thirdly, this study assessed the extent of corporate digital transformation by examining the frequency of digital keywords within corporate annual reports. There is a pressing need to develop more precise methodologies for accurately gauging the level of corporate digital transformation. Fourthly, despite employing a variety of methods to ensure sample quality, this study may still be susceptible to certain sample selection biases. For instance, the exclusion of certain companies due to incomplete information during the sample-selection process, as well as the exclusion of companies lacking patent applications and citations during robustness tests, may introduce biases. Enhancements in sample quality in future research endeavors hold the potential to effectively address this issue.
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